I am extremely excited for the learners of Patensie, who have finally been able to take occupation of their new school building, which was built for them over a year ago, but which had been standing vacant because of delays by the Education Department.
The building of the school was part of the national Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme which aimed to eradicate schools built with inappropriate and unsafe materials.
The delays in handing over the school were revealed after I, together with DA councillor, Henni Britz, conducted oversight at the school last month. It came to light that this brand-new school had been standing empty for more than a year after being completed, because the Department had, inter alia, not yet given it a name.
I raised my concerns with the Education Department representatives who accompanied us on site. These officials gave their commitment that the school would be ready for occupation within a month, and I am pleased that they have kept to their timeline.
The new school, now named the Baviaans Kouga Academy, has now become the new home for learners from four surrounding primary schools, which had been deemed inadequate.
I am grateful that these learners are now able to progress their academics in a school that is conducive to teaching and learning. This new institution with better opportunities to get ahead in life and realise their dreams.
The principals from the four surrounding schools have agreed to take on the role of principal on a rotational basis, until the various positions have been concluded by the Department.
A capable government would have got this school operational without all the delays.
I will continue to visit incomplete infrastructure projects to ensure that the learners and teachers of the Eastern Cape are able to work and learn in an environment that is safe.